As part of the Challenge programme all students at CAST complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The EPQ is completed as part of the College's Challenge programme, so students get considerable time and support in College to help. They have also had extensive experience of working on projects before they start, consequently, the results are particularly strong. The EPQ develops or extends a variety of skills by allowing students to complete a free choice of project. This project allows learners to pursue a theme/topic based either on a subject they are already studying or in an area that is of particular personal interest. It also provides an opportunity to complete something entirely new. To support them in their project each student is assigned a mentor who will provide individualised support and advice.
The outcome of the project can be:
- A performance/event design,
- A report
- A dissertation
- An artefact
The EPQ allows students to develop a range of transferable skills, including:
- Independent working
- Research and investigation
- To critically engage with a theme/topic
- Writing and technology
- Time management
These are skills that are particularly useful for students as they move on to university, apprenticeship and work. The qualification carries UCAS points and every year we have a number of students who gain university places as a result of this. Furthermore, a number of universities offer reduced entry offers to students with relevant EPQs and some also offer financial bursaries. The skills learnt are also useful for demonstrating skills for those applying for apprenticeships and work.
Students really relish the opportunity to develop a project of their choice and take something that interests them to a higher level. Some of the projects that students have completed include
- Studying pike behaviour
- Designing a building a motorised long board
- Creating a computer game
- Performing a magic show
- Making a ukulele
- Writing a children’s book
- Exploring the influence of botany on medicinal drug development
- Exploring the impact of class on the culture of Korea
- Making a cookbook of sustainable recipes
The range of projects is only limited by the student’s imagination!
Projects are marked according to their planning, execution, student development and evaluation. This is assessed through the submission of the final report/dissertation, reflective diary, evaluation, presentation and planning documents.
We follow the OCR specification for EPQ.